Home grown vegetables add flavor at mealtime


Compiled by Denise Swogetinsky

Kemper Messenger

We're coming up on time to start our gardens.

You might consider container gardens if you have limited space or have certain things you want to keep in smaller places with easy access. Herbs, berries, leafy vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, and kale do well in containers.

If your containers are outside, you can purchase clear bubble style umbrellas to put over your containers to create a greenhouse for your plants. Use these plants in your menus to keep up your healthy lifestyle.


Wrapped Chicken Breast

bacon slices

boneless chicken breast

Philadelphia cream cheese


fresh basil


Chop tomatoes into small pieces. With a mallet, hammer chicken breast so it is flat and thin. Spread cheese over chicken. Layer spinach a few leaves of basil, and tomato on cheese. Roll so into a cylinder. Wrap chicken in 2-4 slices of bacon. Use toothpicks to hold together. Brown sides in skillet then bake in oven at 350° until chicken is one, about 30-45 minutes.


Creamy Tortellini Soup

3 tablespoons butter

1 yellow onion (diced)

3 garlic cloves (minced)

2 large carrots (thinly sliced)

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper (fresh)

1/4 cup flour (all-purpose)

6 cups vegetable broth

12 ounces tortellini (frozen)

5 ounces baby spinach (fresh)

1 cup cream 

Melt butter in a large saucepan or soup pot. Add onion, garlic, carrots, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper; cook over medium-low heat for 6 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Whisk in flour; whisk until crumbly.

Slowly add broth and continue to vigorously whisk until everything is well combined and there are no clumps. Bring soup to a boil. Add frozen tortellini and spinach. Continue to cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 6 minutes, or until tortellini is tender and heated through. Stir in cream or milk; bring back to a steady boil and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until smooth and thickened. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper, and adjust accordingly. Serve.


 Slow Cooker 

Chicken Soup

1 pound chicken breasts boneless (skinless)

8 cups chicken broth

1 can chickpeas (15 oz - drained and rinsed)

1 cup carrots (diced)

1 cup celery (diced)

1 onion (medium, diced)

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon pepper

4 cups spinach

Place everything but the spinach in a slow cooker insert and cook on Low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours. Stir in the spinach 10 minutes before serving. Check for seasoning and adjust accordingly. 


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